Marist alums; the journey from students to campus leaders

With 36,000 Marist alumni worldwide, there is no shortage of people who have studied at Marist over the years. There are dozens of notable Marist alumni such as Fox News political commentator Bill O’Reilly ’71 and 1-800-Flowers President and entrepreneur Christopher McCann ’83. But, there are also a sufficient number of Marist graduates who decided to return to the campus and work. Here are three of their stories.

Just like a majority of the current student body attending Marist, Gerald McNulty ‘79 is from Long Island, New York. McNulty first heard of Marist when his high school guidance counselor handed him the college’s brochure in the fall of his senior year.“I came to see the Marist campus and at the time it was very tiny and only consisted of six buildings. The college only had 1,500 students attending at the time and only 950 of those students lived on campus.” McNulty originally chose to major in American studies but shortly changed his major to communications when he became involved in the student newspaper and the yearbook.

Gerald McNulty. Photo courtesy of Marist College.

Gerald McNulty. Photo courtesy of Marist College.

Upon graduating from Marist, McNulty got a job as a reporter at a small daily newspaper, The Port Jervis Union Gazette. He decided to take the reporting job because of his “great experience” working on the The Circle as a student editor and co-editor. After landing his first reporting job, McNulty spent the next 17 years in the newspaper business. For seven of those 17 years he served as an editor but says that, “eventually the job got to be too demanding and tiring.”

McNulty began his job at Marist College in 1996 after Robert Norman, the former director of Marist’s Internship Program retired. Since beginning his employment at Marist in 1996, McNulty has founded Marist in Manhattan and has been the Director of Communication & Media Studies Internship Program. He says his job is to “teach children how to go get jobs” and ever since he took over and reorganized the Marist internship program, “the success of the program is undeniable.” In just the last calendar year, 282 students were participating in the internship program, whereas 10 years ago there were only 120 students. According to McNulty the program now teaches students to take ownerships of their skills when writing cover letters and resumes and to own their experience when interviewing for jobs or internships.

Twenty-five years after McNulty, Stephanie Calvano, a communications professor and Director of Data Management and Technology at the Marist Poll gradated from Marist. Stephanie Calvano ‘04 says she doesn’t remember the first time she learned about Marist but knew it was something that existed in her “back yard”. Calvano is from Highland, New York, which is located right across the Mid-Hudson Bridge. When deciding where to go to college she was between Long Island’s C.W. Post and Marist, but at the “very last minute” chose Marist. She majored in public relations and minored in business.

Stephanie Calvano. Photo courtesy of Marist Poll.

Stephanie Calvano. Photo courtesy of Marist Poll.

Calvano chose to major in public relations due to an experience she had at age thirteen. “If you had asked me my entire life what I wanted to do, I would have told you I wanted to teach. That is, until I visited my aunt at her job”, claims Calvano. “At the time she was working for DeVries Global and the company had huge clients. I remember being in awe, there were huge clients; free stuff and it seemed fun. Going to work was fun and glamorous.”

After graduating from Marist in 2004, Calvano went to grad school in New Haven, Connecticut. During her time at New Haven, Calvano found herself interning at the sports marking firm Octagon. And although when her internship ended, Octagon was not hiring, their sister company, Jack Martin was. She was hired as their Associative Producer, and says, “It was a great job, the pay was great, I had benefits, but I was bored.”

Then one day, Calvano found herself e-mailing with a former professor, Joan Neid, who Calvano had also worked with at Marist Poll. Upon expressing her boredom at her current job, Neid suggested that Calvano apply to be an adjunct professor at Marist. And that she did. “I took a day off from work to come and be interviewed. The interview only consisted of a few questions and then I was asked how many sections did I want to teach, I was only 23 at the time.”

Since then eight years have passed and within those eight years Calvano has been Field Supervisor, Operations Manager, Program Manager, and the Director of Data Management and Technology at Marist Poll as well as a communications professor. “I felt right at home when I came back to work at Marist – Red Fox for life.”

Lastly, working in the Career Advancement Office in the basement of Fontaine is Vice President Christopher DelGiorno, class of 1988. Just like his colleague, Gerald McNulty, DelGiorno is also from Long Island. DelGiorno remembers that a Marist College recruiter named Kevin Sullivan visited his high school and gave a “fantastic presentation” about the college DelGiorno’s senior year. He says that Marist sounded like, “a good fit, had a good communications program and was in an ideal location. It was not too far from home, but far enough.”

Christopher DelGiorno. Photo courtesy of Marist College.

Christopher DelGiorno. Photo courtesy of Marist College.

Unlike his colleagues McNulty and Calvano, DelGiorno’s first job after graduation was at Marist. He was the assistant to the admissions director. He got the job from a fifteen-credit internship he took during his senior year for credits in lieu of taking actual classes. “It was pretty much a job,” says DelGiorno, “for my internship, I was working in the admissions office helping and representing Marist at college fairs, just like Kevin Sullivan had.”

After working at other colleges for about 20 years, DelGirono decided to come back and work for Marist once again. He says his job at Marist is to help secure the resources the college needs in order to make its “bold mission and vision for the future” come true. He wants to “build further on the great history of success of the college” and wants the Career Advancement Office to “provide the fuel needed for the future of the college.”

When asked if there is anything else he would like to share, DelGirono states warmly, “I love this place and think it is a phenomenal institution and even though I have had experiences working at other great universities, there is an enormous amount of talent and an incredible amount of people dedicated to Marist. It is a privilege to come to work everyday.”

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